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as it went, it was not discouraging, parti- is part of my habit. We all talk of a visit cularly my first speech (I spoke three or to Cambridge. four times in all); but just after it, my poem
“ B.” of Childe Harold was published, and nobody ever thought about my prose afterwards, nor Of the same date as the above is the folindeed did I; it became to me a secondary lowing letter to Lord Holland, accompanying and neglected object, though I sometimes a copy of his new publication, and written in wonder to myself if I should have suc- a tone that cannot fail to give a high idea of ceeded."
his good feeling and candour.
His immediate impressions with respect to
TO LORD HOLLAND. the success of his first speech may be col
“ St. James's Street, March 5. 1812. lected from a letter addressed soon after to
My Lord, Mr. Hodgson.
May I request your Lordship to ac
cept a copy of the thing which accompanies TO MR. HODGSON.
this note? You have already so fully proved “ 8. St. James's Street, March 5. 1812.
the truth of the first line of Pope's couplet ', "My dear Hodgson, “ We are not answerable for reports of
“* Forgiveness to the injured doth belong,' speeches in the papers ; they are always that I long for an opportunity to give the lie given incorrectly, and on this occasion more to the verse that follows. If I were not so than usual, from the debate in the perfectly convinced that any thing I may Commons on the same night. The Morning have formerly uttered in the boyish rashness Post should have said eighteen years.
How- of my misplaced resentment had made as ever, you will find the speech, as spoken, in little impression as it deserved to make, I the Parliamentary Register, when it comes
should hardly have the confidence — perhaps Lords Holland and Grenville, parti- your Lordship may give it a stronger and cularly the latter, paid me some high com- more appropriate appellation — to send you pliments in the course of their speeches, a quarto of the same scribbler. But your as you may have seen in the papers, and Lordship, I am sorry to observe to-day, is Lords Eldon and Harrowby answered me. I troubled with the gout ; if my book can prohave had many marvellous eulogies repeated duce a laugh against itself or the author, it to me since, in person and by proxy, from
will be of some service. If it can set you divers persons ministerial — yea, ministerial ! | to sleep, the benefit will be yet greater ; and
- as well as oppositionists ; of them I shall as some facetious personage observed half a only mention Sir F. Burdett. He says it is century ago, that poetry is a mere drug,' I the best speech by a lord since the Lord offer you mine as a humble assistant to the knows when,' probably from a fellow-feeling
eau médicinale.' I trust you will forgive in the sentiments. Lord H. tells me I shall this and all my other buffooneries, and bebeat them all if I persevere ; and Lord G. lieve me to be, with great respect, remarked that the construction of some of * Your Lordship’s obliged and my periods are very like Burke's !! And so
Sincere servant, much for vanity. I spoke very violent sen
" BYRON." tences with a sort of modest impudence, abused every thing and every body, and It was within two days after his speech in put the Lord Chancellor very much out of the House of Lords that Childe Harold humour ; and if I may believe what I hear, appeared ? ; and the impression which it have not lost any character by the experiment. produced upon the public was as instantaAs to my delivery, loud and fluent enough, neous as it has proved deep and lasting. The perhaps a little theatrical. I could not permanence of such success genius alone recognise myself or any one else in the news could secure ; but to its instant and enthupapers.
siastic burst, other causes, besides the merit "My poesy comes on Saturday. of the work, concurred. Hobhouse is here ; I shall tell him to write. There are those who trace in the pecuMy stone is gone for the present, but I fear liar character of Lord Byron’s genius strong
[The couplet is Dryden's :-
But they ne'er pardon who commit the wrong."] 7 To his sister, the Honourable Mrs. Leigh, one of the
first presentation copies was sent, with the following inscription in it:
“ To Augusta, my dearest sister, and my best friend, who has ever loved me much better than I deserved, this volume is presented by her father's son, and most affectionate brother,
features of relationship to the times in which at the same time, tolerantly, devout, the he lived ; who think that the great events spectacle of a great mind, like that of Byron, which marked the close of the last century, labouring in the eclipse of scepticism, could by giving a new impulse to men's minds, by not be otherwise than an object of deep and habituating them to the daring and the free, solemn interest. If they had already known and allowing full vent to “ the flash and out- what it was to doubt, themselves, they would break of fiery spirits," had led naturally to enter into his fate with mournful sympathy ; the production of such a poet as Byron ; while, if safe in the tranquil haven of faith, and that he was, in short, as much the child they would look with pity on one who was and representative of the Revolution, in still a wanderer. Besides, erring and dark poesy, as another great man of the age, as might be his views at that moment, there Napoleon, was in statesmanship and warfare. were circumstances in his character and fate Without going the full length of this notion, that gave a hope of better thoughts yet
dawnit will, at least, be conceded, that the free ing upon him. From his temperament and loose which had been given to all the pas- youth, there could be little fear that he was sions and energies of the human mind, in yet hardened in his heresies ; and as, for a the great struggle of that period, together heart wounded like his, there was, they knew, with the constant spectacle of such astound- but one true source of consolation, so it was ing vicissitudes as were passing, almost hoped that the love of truth, so apparent in daily, on the theatre of the world, had creat- all he wrote, would, one day, enable him to ed, in all minds, and in every walk of in- find it. tellect, a taste for strong excitement, which Another, and not the least of those causes the stimulants supplied from ordinary sources which concurred with the intrinsic claims of were insufficient to gratify ; — that a tame his genius to give an impulse to the tide of deference to established authorities had fall- success that now flowed upon him, was, unen into disrepute, no less in literature than questionably, the peculiarity of his personal in politics ; and that the poet who should history and character. There had been, in breathe into his songs the fierce and pas- his very first introduction of himself to the sionate spirit of the age, and assert, untram- public, a sufficient portion of singularity to melled and unawed, the high dominion of excite strong attention and interest. While genius, would be the most sure of an audience all other youths of talent, in his high station, toned in sympathy with his strains.
are heralded into life by the applauses and It is true that, to the licence on religious anticipations of a host of friends, young Bysubjects, which revelled through the first ron stood forth alone, unannounced by either acts of that tremendous drama, a disposition praise or promise, the representative of of an opposite tendency had, for some time, an ancient house, whose name, long lost in succeeded. Against the wit of the scoffer, the gloomy solitudes of Newstead, seemed not only piety, but a better taste, revolted ; to have just awakened from the sleep of half and had Lord Byron, in touching on such a century in his person. The circumstances themes in Childe Harold, adopted a tone of that, in succession, followed, - the prompt levity or derision, (such as, unluckily, he vigour of his reprisals upon the assailants sometimes afterwards descended to,) not all of his fame, - his disappearance, after this the originality and beauty of his work would achievement, from the scene of his triumph, have secured for it a prompt or uncontest- without deigning even to wait for the laurels ed triumph. As it was, however, the few which he had earned, and his departure dashes of scepticism with which he darkened on a far pilgrimage, whose limits he left to his strain, far from checking his popularity, chance and fancy, — all these successive inwere among those attractions which, as I cidents had thrown an air of adventure round have said, independent of all the charms of the character of the young poet, which prethe poetry, accelerated and heightened its pared his readers to meet half-way the im
The religious feeling that has pressions of his genius. Instead of finding sprung up through Europe since the French him, on a nearer view, fall short of their revolution — like the political principles that imaginations, the new features of his dispohave emerged out of the same event sition now disclosed to them far outwent, in in rejecting all the licentiousness of that peculiarity and interest, whatever they might period, have preserved much of its spirit have preconceived ; while the curiosity and of freedom and inquiry ; and, among the sympathy, awakened by what he suffered to best fruits of this enlarged and enlightened transpire of his history, were still more heightpiety, is the liberty which it disposes men ened by the mystery of his allusions to to accord to the opinions, and even heresies, much that yet remained untold. The late of others. To persons thus sincerely, and, losses by death which he had sustained,
and which, it was manifest, he most deeply from them to the treasury of English literamourned, gave a reality to the notion formed ture, would be at once fully and splendidly of him by his admirers which seemed to au- | discharged. thorise them in imagining still more ; and Altogether, taking into consideration the what has been said of the poet Young, that various points I have here enumerated, it he found out the art of “ making the public may be asserted, that never did there exist a party to his private sorrows,” may be, with before, and it is most probable never will exist infinitely more force and truth, applied to again, a combination of such vast mental Lord Byron.
power and surpassing genius, with so many On that circle of society with whom he other of those advantages and attractions, came immediately in contact, these personal by which the world is, in general, dazzled influences acted with increased force, from and captivated. The effect was, accordingly being assisted by others, which, to female electric ; - his fame had not to wait for imaginations especially, would have presented any of the ordinary gradations, but seemed a sufficiency of attraction, even without the to spring up, like the palace of a fairy great qualities joined with them. His youth, tale, in a night. As he himself briefly de
the noble beauty of his countenance, and scribed it in his memoranda, —“I awoke one its constant play of lights and shadows,- morning and found myself famous.” The the gentleness of his voice and manner to wo- first edition of his work was disposed of inmen and his occasional haughtiness to men, stantly; and, as the echoes of its reputation the alleged singularities of his mode of life, multiplied on all sides, Childe İlarold ” which kept curiosity alive and inquisitive, – and “ Lord Byron” became the theme of all these lesser traits and habitudes concur- every tongue. At his door, most of the red towards the quick spread of his fame ; | leading names of the day presented themnor can it be denied that, among many purer selves, some of them persons whom he sources of interest in his poem, the allusions had much wronged in his Satire, but who which he makes to instances of " successful now forgot their resentment in generous adpassion” in his career! were not without miration. From morning till night the most their influence on the fancies of that sex, fattering testimonies of his success crowded whose weakness it is to be most easily won his table, - from the grave tributes of the by those who come recommended by the statesman and the philosopher down to greatest number of triumphs over others. (what flattered him still more) the romantic
That his rank was also to be numbered billet of some incognita, or the pressing note among these extrinsic advantages appears to of invitation from some fair leader of fahave been partly, perhaps, from a feeling shion; and, in place of the desert which Lonof modesty at the time-his own persuasion. don had been to him but a few weeks before, “ I may place a great deal of it,” said he to he now not only saw the whole splendid Mr. Dallas, “ to my being a lord.” It might interior of High Life thrown open to receive be supposed that it is only on a rank inferior him, but found himself
, among its illustrious to his own such a charm could operate ; but crowds, the most distinguished object. this very speech is, in itself, a proof, that in The copyright of the poem, which was no class whatever is the advantage of being purchased by Mr. Murray for 6001.
, he prenoble more felt and appreciated than among sented, in the most delicate and unostennobles themselves. It was, also, natural tatious manner, to Mr. Dallas 2, saying, at that, in that circle, the admiration of the the same time, that he “never would receive new poet should be, at least, quickened by money for his writings;" — a resolution, the the consideration that he had sprung up mixed result of generosity and pride, which among themselves, and that their order had, he afterwards wisely abandoned, though at length, produced a man of genius, by borne out by the example of Swift 3 and whom the arrears of contribution, long due Voltaire, the latter of whom gave away most
1 * Little knew she, that seeming marble heart,
Now mask'd in silence, or withheld by pride,
Childe Harold, Canto II. We have here another instance of his propensity to self-misrepresentation. However great might have been the irregularities of his college life, such phrases as the “art of the spoiler” and “ spreading snares” were in nowise applicable to them. [“ I am not a Joseph," wrote Lord Byron, in 1821, “nor a Scipio; but I can
safely affirm, that I never in my life seduced any woman."]
2“ After speaking to him of the sale, and settling the new edition, I said, ' How can I possibly think of this rapid sale, and the profits likely to ensue, without recollecting-'-'What ?'-' Think what sum your work may produce.'-' I shall be rejoiced, and wish it doubled and trebled; but do not talk to me of money. I never will receive money for my writings."" — Dallas's Recollections.
3 In a letter to Pulteney, 12th May, 1735, Swift says, " I never got a farthing for any thing I writ, except once,
STITUTION. ANECDOTES. - SENSITIVE-
THE POET ON THE SUBJECT OF HIS SATIRE, SUPPRESSION OF THE
of his copyrights to Prault and other book- satire, reflecting upon his conduct as masellers, and received books, not money, for nager of the Argyle Institution, were calthose he disposed of otherwise. To his culated to inflict upon his character. In the young friend, Mr. Harness, it had been his appeal of the gallant Colonel, there were intention, at first, to dedicate the work, but, some expressions of rather an angry cast, on further consideration, he relinquished which Lord Byron, though fully conscious of his design ; and in a letter to that gentleman the length to which he himself had gone, (which, with some others, is unfortunately was but little inclined to brook, and, on my lost) alleged, as his reason for this change, returning the letter into his hands, he said, the prejudice which, he foresaw, some parts To such a letter as that there can be but of the poem would raise against himself, and one sort of answer.” He agreed, however, his fear lest, by any possibility, a share of to trust the matter entirely to my discretion, the odium might so far extend itself to his and I had, shortly after, an interview with friend, as to injure him in the profession to
the friend of Colonel Greville. By this genwhich he was about to devote himself, tleman, who was then an utter stranger to
me, I was received with much courtesy, and
with every disposition to bring the affair inCHAPTER XV.
trusted to us to an amicable issue. On my
premising that the tone of his friend's letter 1812.
stood in the way of negotiation, and that
some obnoxious expressions which it conCOLONEL GREVILLE AND THE ARGYLE IN
tained must be removed before I could proceed a single step towards explanation, he inost readily consented to remove this ob
stacle. At his request I drew a pen across NEW EDITION OF ENGLISH BARDS, ETC.,
the parts I considered objectionable, and he OF THE CURSE OF MINERVA, AND OF THE
undertook to send me the letter re-written next morning. In the mean time I received
from Lord Byron the following paper for my - PRESENTATION TO THE PRINCE RE
guidance : GENT, -LETTER TO SIR WALTER SCOTT THEREON. - VISITS TO MIDDLETON, AND
“ With regard to the passage on Mr. Way's TO BOWOOD,LORD ERSKINE. — CHEEK
loss, no unfair play was hinted at, as may be CHESTER-CHELTENHAM,ADDRESS ON
seen by referring to the book ; and it is exTHE OPENING OF THE NEW THEATRE
pressly added, that the managers were ROYAL, DRURY-LANE. MR. BETTY, THE
ignorant of that transaction. As to the ACTOR. ANECDOTES. - CORRESPOND
prevalence of play at the Argyle, it cannot ENCE.
be denied that there were billiards and dive; Not long after the publication of Childe - Lord B. has been a witness to the use Harold, the noble author paid me a visit, of both at the Argyle Rooms. These, it is one morning, and putting a letter into my presumed, come under the denomination of hands, which he had just received, requested play. If play be allowed, the President of that I would undertake to manage for him the Institution can hardly complain of being whatever proceedings it might render ne- termed the 'Arbiter of Play”, — or what
This letter, I found, had been de- becomes of his authority ? livered to him by Mr. Leckie' (a gentleman " Lord B. has no personal animosity to well known by a work on Sicilian affairs), Colonel Greville. A public institution, to and came from a once active and popular which he himself was a subscriber, he conmember of the fashionable world, Colonel sidered himself to have a right to notice pubGreville, - its purport being to require of his lickly. Of that institution Colonel Greville Lordship, as author of “ English Bards,” &c., was the avowed director ;- it is too late such reparation as it was in his power to enter into the discussion of its merits or to make for the injury which, as Colonel demerits. Greville conceived, certain passages in that “Lord B. must leave the discussion of
KINTS FROM HORACE. PARLIAMENT-
and that by Mr. Pope's prudent management for me." [“ This probably alludes to Gulliver's Travels, for which Pope certainly obtained from the bookseller 3001. There may, however, be some question, whether this sum was not left at Pope's disposal, as well as that which he got for the Miscellanies, and which Swift abandoned to him." - SIR WALTER Scott, Prose Works, vol. ii. p. 432.]
[Gould Francis Leckie, Esq., author of an “ Historical Survey of the Foreign Affairs of Great Britain," an“ Historical Research into the Nature of the Balance of Power in Europe," and other tracts.) ? [" Behold the new Petronius of the day, Our arbiter of pleasure and of play."
See Works, p. 431.)
COLONEL GREVILLE. — ARGYLE INSTITUTION.
the reparation, for the real or supposed in- | A certain Susan C was she called. I jury, to Colonel G.'s friend, and Mr. Moore, never saw her but once; and that was to the friend of Lord B. — begging them to re- induce her but to say two words (which in collect that, while they consider Colonel G.'s no degree compromised herself), and which honour, Lord B. must also maintain his own. would have had the effect of saving a priest If the business can be settled amicably, or a lieutenant of cavalry. She would not Lord B. will do as much as can and ought say them, and neither Nepean' nor myself to be done by a man of honour towards con- (the son of Sir Evan Nepean, and a friend ciliation ;- if not, he must satisfy Colonel G. to one of the parties) could prevail upon in the manner most conducive to his further her to say them, though both of us used to wishes."
deal in some sort with womankind. At last
I managed to quiet the combatants without In the morning I received the letter, in her talisman, and, I believe, to her great disits new form, from Mr. Leckie, with the an appointment : she was the damnedest bnered note :
that I ever saw, and I have seen a great
many. Though my clergyman was sure to My dear Sir,
lose either his life or his living, he was as I found my friend very ill in bed; he warlike as the Bishop of Beauvais, and would has, however, managed to copy the enclosed, hardly be pacified; but then he was in love, with the alterations proposed. Perhaps you
and that is a martial passion.” may wish to see me in the morning ; I shall However disagreeable it was to find the therefore be glad to see you any time till consequences of his Satire thus rising up twelve o'clock. If you rather wish me to against him in a hostile shape, he was far call on you, tell me, and I shall obey your
more embarrassed in those cases where the summons. Yours, very truly,
retribution took a friendly form. Being now “ G. F. LECKIE." daily in the habit of meeting and receiving
kindnesses from persons who, either in With such facilities towards pacification, themselves, or through their relatives, had it is almost needless to add that there was
been wounded by his pen, he felt every fresh but little delay in settling the matter ami- instance of courtesy from such quarters to cably.
be, (as he sometimes, in the strong language While upon this subject, I shall avail my
of Scripture, expressed it,) like “heaping self of the opportunity which it affords of coals of fire upon his head.” He was, extracting an amusing account given by Lord indeed, in a remarkable degree, sensitive to Byron himself of some affairs of this de- the kindness or displeasure of those he lived scription, in which he was, at different times, with ; and had he passed a life subject to the
immediate influence of society, it may be employed as mediator.
doubted whether he ever would have ven“I have been called in as mediator, or second, at least twenty times, in violent tured upon those unbridled bursts of energy quarrels, and have always contrived to set
in which he at once demonstrated and tle the business without compromising the abused his power. At the period when he honour of the parties, or leading them to
ran riot in his Satire, society had not yet mortal consequences, and this, too, sometimes caught him within its pale ; and in the time in very difficult and delicate circumstances, broken loose from it. Hence, his instinct
of his Cains and Don Juans, he had again and having to deal with very hot and haughty towards a life of solitude and independence, spirits, — Irishmen, gamesters, guardsmen, captains, and cornets of horse, and the like.
as the true element of his strength. In his This was, of course, in my youth, when I
own domain of imagination he could defy lived in hot-headed company. I have had the whole world ; while, in real life, a frown to carry challenges from gentlemen to noble- which he sacrificed his first volume, at the
or smile could rule him. The facility with men, from captains to captains, from lawyers to counsellors, and once from a clergyman
mere suggestion of his friend, Mr. Becher, is to an officer in the Life Guards ; but I found instance of Childe Harold, such influence
a strong proof of this pliableness ; and in the the latter by far the most difficult,
had the opinions of Mr. Gifford and Mr. “ 'to compose
Dallas on his mind, that he not only shrunk The bloody duel without blows,'
from his original design of identifying himself the business being about a woman : I must with his hero, but surrendered to them one add, too, that I never saw a woman behave of his most favourite stanzas, whose heteso ill, like a cold blooded, heartless b-- as - but very handsome for all that.
! (Now Sir Molineux Nepean, Bart.]